Orecchiette with Andouille Sausage and Pesto Chipotle Sauce

Orecchiette with Andouille Sausage and Pesto
Using Italian ingredients makes for a delectable meal, and pasta orecchiette is no exception. Orecchiette according to Recipes Wikia, is a pasta typical of the Apulia (Italian: Puglia) region of Southern Italy.
Orecchiette Pasta - uncooked

The shape of the pasta is what gives it, its name. The pasta resembles a small ear.

In Italian, the word “orecchio” means “ear”, and the suffix ‘etto’ means ‘small’. The pronunciation of Orecchiette is : ohr-ay-KYEHT-ee.

In another article we noted that Andouille Sausage is thanks to French cuisine. The sausage is double smoked pork, that is once the meat is prepared it is smoked, then put into a sausage casing and smoked again.

Our featured recipe is actually a mix of two pasta recipes, which are Pesto Orecchiette with Chicken Sausage and Gluten Free Creamy Pesto Fettuccine (click links to view recipes).

Now for our featured recipe Orecchiette with Andouille Sausage and Pesto Chipotle Sauce, and here is what you will need.

16 ounces of cooked orecchiette

2 Andouille sausage links, about ½ pound, sliced

3/4 cup fresh basil pesto (link here for recipe – History of Pesto Sauce)

2 teaspoons chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

15 symphony cherry tomatoes (about), sliced in half to measure 1 cup

1 pound green beans, trimmed, cut in half

Prepare basil pesto, and add the 2 teaspoons of adobe sauce to one cup of the pesto (get ingredients by following link above). Or if you are using your favorite store bought brand (preferably in a jar) remove one cup and mix in the adobe sauce. Set prepared pesto aside.

If you have any left over basil pesto sauce, store in a glass jar and pour a thin layer of olive oil over top of pesto to keep it from browning, and place a lid on jar and tighten. The pesto should keep in cooler for 7 to 10 days. Pesto sauce makes a great spread for sandwiches as well.

fresh green beans and cherry tomatoesPrepare green beans and symphony of cherry tomatoes and set aside.

adding greens beans to pot of  boiling water with Orecchiette pastaCook pasta according to package instructions. Last three minutes of cooking time for pasta, add prepared green beans.

cooked Orecchiette and green beansDrain, but do not rinse. Set aside.

adding Andouille to pastaSlice sausage into 1/2 inch slices. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add a tablespoon of olive oil, add meat and move about until heated through, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan.

In the same large skillet, add the pasta green bean mix, the cup of pesto, sausage, and mix until coated with pesto chipotle sauce.

Orecchiette with Andouille Sausage and Pesto

Plate and serve.

 

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Ginger-Orange Chipotle Chicken

Ginger Orange Chipotle Chicken

What do you know about the “Blood Orange”? The blood orange is a type of orange with a flesh that is almost-blood-colored. The fruit is about the same size as an average regular orange, though it can be smaller or larger.

Fresh Blood OrangesWhat gives the blood orange its distinctive dark flesh color is due to the a compund called anthocyanin, an antioxidant pigment common to many flowers and fruit, but uncommon in citrus fruits, making the blood orange a unique piece of fruit.

Due to the blood oranges pigments of red, it contains greater amounts of antioxidants, more than a regular orange.

The three common types of blood oranges, which are the Tarocco, native to Italy, the Sanguinello, native to Spain, and the Moro, which is a newer variety sold at the market. There are 12 lesser common blood orange varieties as well.

The blood oranges can and have been used to make marmalade, and the zest can also be used for baking. A very popular Sicilian salad that is prepared in the winter months, is made with sliced blood oranges, sliced fennel, and olive oil. The oranges have also been used to create Italian sodas among other things.

Now for our featured recipe: Ginger-Orange Chipotle Chicken, and here is what you will need.

3/4 cup ginger-orange marmalade

1 1/2 tablespoons adobo sauce (canned chipotles)

1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1 large sweet potato, cut into wedges

2 small blood oranges, quartered

2 tablespoons avocado oil

4 large chicken drumsticks

1/3 cup mixed almond and coconut flour

Preheat oven to 475 degrees

Ginger Orange Chipotle SauceIn a medium mixing bowl, mix first 4 ingredients together, and reserve 1/3 cup of the sauce.

Ginger Orange Chipotle Chicken - Ready to RoastIn a large bowl, add the avocado oil, prepared sweet potato and blood oranges, and toss to coat with oil.

On a foil-lined baking sheet, arrange orange and sweet potato wedges.

Almond Coconut Flour Breaded Chicken LegsToss chicken in flour mixture, then coat with sauce. Because the flour mixture does not contain wheat flour, this dish can be considered a gluten free recipe.

Now add the bread chicken legs to the baking sheet with blood orange quarters and sweet potato wedges. Roast in heated oven for 15 minutes. Turn chicken and brush with sauce. Continue to roast until juices run clear when pierced with a knife, about 10 minutes.

Ginger Orange Chipotle ChickenPlate and serve with reserved sauce. Enjoy!!

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Peaches are a Delight

Peaches are a Delight

Peaches and Herb - Peaches are a DelightThere are a few things that come to mind when we refer to peaches being a delight.

Such as ‘Peaches & Herb‘ who were an American vocalist duo, once comprising Herb Fame and Francine “Peaches” Hurd Barker. Peaches & Herb were a delight to listen too.

Peaches  Geldof - Peaches are a DelightThere is the beautiful and delightful ‘Peaches Honeyblossom Geldof-Cohen’ who was an English journalist, television presenter and model.

Peaches Scrubs - Peaches are a DelightHow about those cute and delightful ‘Peaches Scrubs‘ a brand name scrubs for nurses and medical assistants.

Then there’s those peaches that were voluntarily recalled nationwide (USA) by Wawona Packing Co. at its Cutler, California, warehouses between June 1 and July 12 of this year (2014), because they were believed to have been contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

Local peaches at the Whole foods Market - Peaches are a DelightSeveral other soft skinned fruits as well were recalled, like nectarines, plums and pluots.

What a big setback for us all who love peaches, and especially National Peach Month (August 2014).

Because of that recall, there really have not been any good sales on peaches this year.

The cultivation of peaches began in China as early as 2000 B.C., and by 300 B.C. the Greeks and Persians were also cultivars.

In the first century A.D., Romans began cultivating peaches, and from Italy, the cultivation of peaches spread throughout Europe and to the Americas, where the early settlers planted them all along the eastern coast (Agricultural Marketing Resource Center).

There are two basic types of peaches, the ‘clingstone’ and ‘freestone’. The flesh of the ‘clingstone’ clings to the stone or pit of the fruit. The peach flesh of the ‘freestone’ separates easily from the pit or stone.

In the United States as of 2012, 26 states are cultivating peaches. In that year 965,420 tons of peaches were harvested. Of that harvest, 490,320 tons were sold as fresh produce, and 475,100 tons were processed, either canned (364,640 tons), flash frozen (90,210 tons) or dried (9,800 tons).

If you are able to budget some fresh peaches on your weekly shopping, here are some great recipes to use them in.

Basil Marinated Peaches

4 firm-ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, and quartered

1 oz. opal basil leaves (about 2 cups loosely packed)

1 tsp. grated lime zest

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

Place the peaches and basil in a medium bowl, and set it aside.

Combine the lime zest, sugar, and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Lower the heat and simmer for 2 minutes.

Then pour the hot syrup over the peaches and basil. Cover, and chill for 2 hours.

You can serve them with Vanilla Pound Cake, Crepes or with a dollop whipped cream.

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Warm Berries and Peaches with Mascarpone

Warm Berries and Peaches with Mascarpone

Image credit: finecooking.com

2 Tbs. granulated sugar

1 tsp. ground ginger

4 cups ripe mixed berries (such as raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries)

3 medium ripe nectarines, thinly sliced

1/4 cup mascarpone (or cream cheese)

In a large (12-inch) skillet, combine the sugar and ginger with 1/3 cup water and put the pan over medium-high heat.

When the water comes to a boil, add the berries and nectarines and cook, stirring frequently, until the nectarines have just started to soften and the juice released from the berries has thickened slightly, 4 to 5 minutes.

Let cool for a minute and then transfer to individual serving bowls and garnish with a dollop of mascarpone.

Peach Mango SalsaPeach Pecan Cake

There is also Peach and Mango Salsa and Peach and Pecan Cake.

Peaches also have vitamins-A and C, including the trace minerals iron and magnesium, making it a fruit that enriches your blood with oxygen and helps your muscles relax.

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Cooking a Healthy Stir Fry

Cooking a Healthy Stir FryStir-fry makes for a complete meal that can be made in a short time when you are famished. The majority of kids, including the picky eaters, will be happy with a colorful stir-fry for dinner.

Let’s discuss the items you will need for your stir-fry, such as the cookware to use. What cooking oil is best, and also the vegetables and the use of protein in your stir-fry’s.

Cooking Stir-Fry

Types of woks for Cooking a Healthy Stir Fry Stir-fry can be made in a Wok, which is a great cooking method as it cooks this food properly without having to add a lot of oil. A wok is built to heat up in such a way that food cooks fast, meats get a nice sear and vegetables cook quickly so they are not overcooked and retain their nutrients.

But, if you don’t have a Wok, you can use a cast iron skillet, hard anodized or ceramic coated cookware, but make sure they are really hot before adding the ingredients.

Healthy Oil

To cook your stir fry for heart health, you need to choose cooking oil that has a high smoking point because of the high temperature of frying.

Chinese cooks normally use peanut oil, which has a high smoke point and a pleasant nutty flavor, for stir-frying (and deep-frying). The Peanut Institute states that highly refined peanut oil does not contain allergen-containing proteins and is safe for people with even severe peanut allergies.

Keep in mind that peanut oil is 18% saturated fat, not a healthy fat for the heart, according to the medical community.

Almond oil is suitable to stir-fry with as it has a smoke point of 420 degrees. Almond oil contains the second highest percentage of monosaturated fats, behind olive oil. This type of fat has a number of potential health benefits including lowering total cholesterol, normalizing blood clotting and controlling blood sugar.

Olive oil is also suitable to stir-fry with, but only when using extra light olive oil, because it has a higher smoke point at 468 degrees over EVO oil which is 350 degrees.

Avocado OilAvocado oil has many uses and is great for lowering blood pressure. Avocado oil has a smoke point to 500 degrees. This oil is great for searing meats and frying vegetables. When the food hits the hot oil, the sugar content in the food caramelizes and proteins will be denatured and form a thin coating. This allows the food not to soak up any oil. Also because it is thicker than olive oil, you will find yourself using less of it in the pan. In the USA, if you live near a Costco, the price of the avocado oil for 1 litter is about $10.99 (2014). It isn’t certified organic, but it does state non-gmo avocados used.

The flesh of an avocado, including its oil have 20 vitamins and minerals, which include B-6, an essential B-vitamin for healthy red blood cells, nervous system, gums and teeth. Other nutrients include iron, potassium, lutein and folate. Avocado oil also contains potassium, pantothenic acid, copper and the phytonutrient lutein, which helps boost eye health as we age.

Each serving of avocado oil, 1 tablespoon contains about 1.6 grams of saturated fat, with no omega-6 fatty acids, which cause inflammation in the body.

Vegetables – Low in Calories and Fat

vegetables for stir-fryOne of the best things about a stir fry is the variety of vegetables you can use, such as cabbage, broccoli, peas, green beans, mushrooms and peppers. Most vegetables are high in fiber, keeping you full for long periods of time. Vegetables are low in calories as well and have no fat and so they can be eaten in abundance.

Protein in Your Stir-Fry

You can choose to use meat, like pork, beef, or chicken. But if you want an all vegetarian stir-fry, you can still have protein as well, by adding nuts or seeds.

Peanut sauce is a high-protein food offering 8 grams per 2 tablespoons. Also 1/4 cup of slivered almonds adds 6 grams of protein or 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds adds 7 grams of protein.

However you choose your protein, make sure to add it to your stir-fry. Protein is an essential building block for healthy tissue and muscles in the body.

Enjoying a good stir-fry also ensures you are getting your daily need of vegetables that provide all of the amino acids you need plus fiber and phytonutrients for a long healthy life.

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Easy Homemade Cappuccino

Coffee Time— This article is an update from a prior article posted April. 23, 2014. The following article is more in depth with added images—

There’s nothing quite like a freshly made cappuccino to go with breakfast. However, buying one from a commercial coffee shop is not the same as creating an authentic cup at home. You can make authentic Italian-style cappuccino at home in three easy steps.

Cappuccino with Frothed MilkCoffee has come such a long way since the days of instant granules, and the cappuccino you enjoyed on your last vacation to Italy is much more achievable at home. You can purchase a fancy cappuccino machine for several hundred dollars if you’d like, however, it isn’t necessary. You can make a great-tasting cappuccino with a few inexpensive items. Let’s take a look.

Stovetop Espresso Maker

 

Step 1:

A stove top espresso maker is essential if you want Italian-style coffee. They make about 4 to 6 ounces of espresso.  The cost starts at around $19.95 and up. They are usually made from hard aluminum or stainless steel and are suitable for use on any stovetop, gas or electric.

Making Espresso with a stove top makerTo use a stove top espresso maker, unscrew the top and bottom. Fill the bottom with water to just below the valve. Add freshly ground espresso beans to the filter. Replace the top and place the percolator over medium heat. As the water comes to a boil the steam pressure forces the water through the filter and into the top. Remove from the heat when the gurgling noise stops and the top is full. Don’t let the coffee boil or it may taste burnt.

Step 2:

First boil some water in a kettle. Next, heat the milk while the coffee is brewing. You can do this in a couple of different ways. The fastest way, of course, is in a microwave on Medium 45-60 seconds for every 1/4 cup. However, for best results, you’ll want to warm it in a small saucepan over medium heat until the milk is nearly boiling. If you have a thermometer, remove the pan from the heat when the needle reaches 149 degrees.

Pre-heat each cup with hot water from the kettle. Next, pour freshly brewed coffee into each coffee cup, and top with hot milk (reserving one-quarter (1/4) cup of hot milk per cup). The reserved milk is for making froth.

Step 3:

You’ll need a milk foamer or frother, which is available at most housewares stores. A milk foamer can be a hand-held manual or battery-operated whipper. There are also foamers made of glass with a plunger, and electric frothers that can froth 1-cup of milk at a time.

To make froth with a battery-operated frother, pour the reserved hot milk into a warmed cup. Place the frother in the cup and turn on the frother for 15-20 seconds or until milk is thick and frothy. Spoon froth over the cappuccinos and dust with chocolate and serve.

Types of Milk Frothers

CLICK Image Too Enlarege

Tips:

To clean your stove top espresso make, unscrew all parts from each other. Next empty out used coffee grounds. Rinse all parts with hot water and use a non-abrasive scourer to remove any coffee residue.

You can also brew some really strong coffee to use instead of espresso, if you don’t have a stove top espresso maker or machine. Also if you do not have a frother, warm your milk and then pour into a small jar. Shake the jar for about one minute. Pour the milk into your waiting mug of hot coffee. Spoon out the foam and top with cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa, etc. You’re good to go!!

Link here to Enjoy Some Coffee Art using Frothed Milk.

 

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Pesto Orecchiette with Chicken Sausage

Pesto Orrechette with Chicken Sausage

Italian cuisine is always an elaborate meal. You gather several ingredients and spend half the day or more. But this recipe , this Italian pasta dish, is fast , simple and easy in under 40 minutes. It has vegetables for lots of vitamins and minerals. Garlic good for digestion and helps fight against stomach cancer. Also controls your blood pressure.

Basil leaves contain much health benefiting essential oils such as eugenol, citronellol, linalool, citral, limonene and terpineol. These compounds are known to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Vitamin K in basil is essential for many coagulant factors in the blood and plays a vital role in the bone strengthening function by helping the mineralization process in the bones.

As a side note this is a great nutritional meal for those who suffer with Schizophrenia (Read More Here: Nutritional Hope for Schizophrenic Patients).

What is pasta Orecchiette?

Pasta-Orecchiette

Orecchiette is a type of pasta shaped roughly like small ears, hence the name Orecchiette which in Italian means little ears. It is pasta typical of Puglia, a region of southern Italy.

Orecchiette is about ¾ of an inch across, somewhat domed, and the center is thinner than the rim of the pasta therefore, giving the pasta its interestingly variable texture soft in the middle and a little chewier on the outer part. You can purchase it with a  smooth surface, as in the image or with ridges. Both are the same flavor and texture.

Enjoy the food video!!

 

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The 3 “B”s of Piedmont Wines: Barolo, Barbaresco, and Barbera

The 3 “B”s of Piedmont Wines: Barolo, Barbaresco, and Barbera

Without question, Italy is one of the most esteemed wine producing countries in the world and the Piedmont (Piemonte) region in northern Italy ranks near the top in terms of the quality of wines it produces. Any discussion of Piedmont wines would be incomplete without shining a spotlight on the 3 “B”s of this region – Barolo, Barbaresco and Barbera.

A Tale of Two Grapes

Barolo and Barbaresco are produced from the same grape: Nebbiolo. This grape is a true diva. She is fussy and demanding and among the most difficult to grow. In fact, she refuses to flourish just about anywhere else in the world. (She even takes her name from the Italian word ‘nebbia’ for the fog that settles over the Piedmont region during the fall harvest). However, she delivers the goods in terms of the quality and complexity of wines produced from her.

As a result, she is highly prized by winemakers in the Piedmont region and the best growing areas and winemaking equipment are devoted to her. It’s not surprising, then, that her most famous offspring – Barolo and Barbaresco – are so highly revered. Born of privilege and prestige, they are content to make you wait, and wait, and wait, until they are ready to be savored and enjoyed.

On the other hand, the Barbera grape (also the name of the wine) is much more laid back and easy to accommodate. She is planted much more widely, but almost never on the highly coveted southern facing slopes that brought such prominence to the Piedmont region. Traditionally, the Barbera grape was planted for quantity, not quality, so her offspring became known as everyday drinking wines.

Barolo vs. Barbaresco: Wine Royalty

vineyars near Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy

vineyars near Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy

Although both hail from the rustic, yet sophisticated Piedmont region and are produced from the same grape, there are distinct differences between these two powerhouse wines.

Both are reigning monarchs of Piedmont’s most well known wines. (In fact, Barolo has been referred to as the ‘king of wine’). In general, Barolo is the more robust, complex and masculine of the two. It has been called “stern and imposing,” but that is open to interpretation. It is, however, weightier and more like a French Bordeaux than its counterpart. Barolos tend to cost more and age better, as well.

Like Barbaresco, Barolo is not a wine you’d want to drink while young because it is too severe. By law, it must age for a minimum of 3 years between barrel and bottle; 5 years for Barolo riserva. Many require significantly longer to reach their prime.

Barbaresco, on the other hand, is the more graceful of the two. She is softer, more balanced and matures earlier. Aging requirements for Barbaresco are 2 years between barrel and bottle and 4 years for Barbaresco riserva. Non-riserva wines require only one year of oak aging, resulting in its smooth, soft, and more feminine finish.

Both Barolo and Barbaresco pair well with foods that offer big flavors that can stand up to them. Robust meats, wild game, rich pastas and creamy risottos are all worthy partners.

Barbera: Piedmont’s Traditional Every Day Wine

Remember, Barbera is the name of both the grape and the wine. Historically, both have been treated more like ‘commoners’ when compared to their more royal Piedmont counterparts. Unlike the fussy Nebbiolo grape, Barbera is so adaptable it can thrive just about anywhere. In fact, it can now be found in wine growing regions all around the world.

It’s not hard to see why Barbera has long been referred to as the ‘people’s wine.’ The adaptability and high yield of this grape made it easy to cultivate for people of all social and economic standing. It has earned its reputation as a common wine, suitable for every table. Not surprisingly, Barbera is a wine that has graced the tables of hard working Italian families for generations.

Barbera is no shrinking violet, however. With its acidic, full body and deep rich color, it is a good match for the hearty flavors you’ll find on the average Italian family table. However, thanks to its laid back character – and the fact it can be enjoyed young – Barbera has gained more widespread appeal. It can now be found in the finest restaurants, as well as in the average family home.

No matter what you’re serving for dinner tonight, when it comes to choosing a bottle of wine to grace your table, look no further than the wines of the Piedmont region of Italy.

 

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